Facebook has changed its algorithm for displaying, ordering, and prioritising content, which means the way people use Facebook and interact with posts is going to change with it.
Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has decided to change Facebook to a more user-friendly experience, prioritising content that sparks comment and interaction between friends, over ad-based or commercial content from businesses. This move is set to cost Zuckerberg $3.3 billion of his personal worth, as the change will hit Facebook’s bottom line in a way many businesses would consider suicide. However this is a calculated move designed to appeal to user, not business owners.
One way this will directly impact the newsfeed is by drastically reducing video content. While video content is popular, it is also passive, gaining views, but not interaction. Facebook wants to encourage and reward content that generates comments and ‘meaningful interactions’. Zuckerberg has said: "By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down, but I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable."
This is a shocking turn away from Zuckerberg’s previous model of Facebook, one which rewarded and desired engagement of any kind at all costs, no matter what that engagement is with. As he’s found out: not all engagement is positive, not all of it is constructive, and not all of it is friendly. In the wake of ‘fake news’, revenge porn scandals, and live-streaming suicides, Facebook has come under fire from all angles, and has wisely opted to put a focus on quality, opposed to engagement (which is tantamount to ad revenue.)
What This Means For Businesses
Put simply, this is going to have a negative impact on businesses. Unless your content stimulates discussion, it will suffer, and since the public is growing increasingly resistant to advertising, this seems unlikely. Many brands and smaller organisations rely heavily, or even entirely on Facebook for their marketing, and this move may cripple them. Bigger companies can survive a knock in click-through rates, or a drop in views, but this signals a wider change away from advertising, at least in the social sphere.
On a platform that was originally built around social interaction, sponsored or commercial posts were and still are an unwelcome intrusion. For users, paid-for content is a hassle at best, and a reason to leave the platform at worst. Some people have become so concerned with Facebook’s data harvesting and ad-based content that they have deleted their accounts entirely.
In order to combat this, Facebook had no choice but to revert to an earlier strategy, one that puts its users above everything. What this means for businesses on Facebook, is they’re going to have to reach their audience in increasingly creative, unconventional ways, or in ways that directly reward that audience.
This is the nature of PR in the 21st Century: a creative way of communicating with an audience to deliver a specific message, in a way that rewards their attention. To do this on Facebook, any post, any video, any message that is meant to leverage a brand, sell a product, or build awareness, will need to offer something to its audience. Whether that’s through thought-provoking content, a campaign that sparks debate or conversation, or a video that surprises people with genuinely interesting facts, your audience must feel they have gained something from interacting or engaging with what you put out. It must resonate. Or it won’t work.
PR can subvert Facebook’s algorithm by giving your audience a message encoded in content they genuinely want to see. By infiltrating through endless posts from friends and family and providing a payoff for their attention, people are more likely to remember, like, and engage with you, and this can all converted into genuine support for your brand.
For a free PR consultation, or to find out more about how you use content, video, and social media to your advantage, call The Relations Group on 020 7158 0000, or get in touch with us.
Not having a video strategy in this era of online media can be extremely harmful for your brand. In terms of reach, nothing has potential for sharing like videos, and they can effectively and quickly communicate who you are, what you do, and why people should care.
However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, adopting a misleading or amateurish video strategy could damage your brand’s reputation. Poorly made or poorly planned videos achieve little at best, and at worst could reflect badly on your company.
It is well known in the marketing arena that companies are more willing than ever to spend thousands of their budget on creative campaigns and advertising across many different avenues, the main goal being to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, often with many messages being sent to the viewer. Instead of focusing on one key aspect or concept, scattergun approaches to advertising try to bolster the brand to seem cool or relevant in terms of trends, revolutionary in terms of product design, and invaluable to consumers or businesses as the key to success, happiness, or wealth. This is of course never all true.
What many marketing departments are missing nowadays is that a creative idea on its own is not enough to build a consistent relationship with the public. One clever or viral ad will get you into the limelight for a day, but you will be replaced by an equally clever or funny video the next. Maintaining creative output will increase sales because the public will begin to recognise you, and once you are a known brand you start to become a trusted brand. The key to doing this is not to cast as wide a net as possible, but to use smart, strategic, focused techniques that target specific groups that your brand will appeal to.
A video, even a video commercial, should be informative and effective at reproducing the values of the brand. These values are what people will latch onto and identify with. When we talk about video commercial we are more concerned with how creative or entertaining it is, or how many times it has been liked or shared on social media. However, thumbs up on Facebook do not pay the rent. When it comes to a video strategy with the aim to establish and maintain a brand, it is necessary to decide an editorial plan based on conveying the value of the product and how that product is the best fit when it comes to solving a specific problem or satisfying a specific need. Your message needs to be centred around helping someone, not selling to them. Once you’ve proven to be a company of quality, you’ll be held above your competitors. A flashy video that doesn’t say anything might seem slick or sexy, but ultimately they are forgettable, and don’t allow anyone to genuinely connect with what you’re about. If you can create a connection, your brand will be thought of before any others in your field, because you took the time to separate yourself from them.
It is not the best product that necessarily sells more, but the first one that comes into the customer’s mind.
This last sentence explains why a video strategy based on random trends or meaningless topics can’t be effective in the long term just considering the average length of the customer purchasing process.
A video strategy should be based on 3 elements:
Value. Your video has to be informative and intercept all possible objections your potential customer could make when it comes to buying your product. Prove your product to be better than the rest. Customers are very careful nowadays, especially considering the wide range of more or less similar products they can easily find online. What you want is to eliminate the need to search.
Coherence. Your video should perfectly adapt to your company values, that are the values associated with your brand or better, with the perception people have on your positioning within the market. Start at where you are, and build up to where you want to be. Pretending to be something you’re not won’t work, people can see through a hastily built video designed to impress with no substance behind it.
Consistency. Your video strategy should be consistent enough to create new value on a regular basis without being banal or boring. It is better not to publish than to publish something that undermines your credibility both in terms of value and coherence. Once you have a stable base of recognition, you can start rolling out more content because now you know what works. As always, keep a tight focus on what you want to achieve: what do you want to say, and who do you want to say it to?
Now that you have just given a basic briefing on how to lead a potentially successful video strategy, I am offering you 20 valid reasons on why you should start today to produce value-driven, coherent video content to be published regularly and consistently where your potential customers will see and engage with it:
All this data leads to a clear conclusion: that people prioritise videos as a way to interact with and make sense of the world of information and business. If you are not involved in this process, you will be left behind.
Videos do not require active effort like reading. Passive consumption of media is something that can be done over a short or long period of time, and allows information to be replayed as well as be digested at the watcher’s leisure. People are also far more likely to go back to an interesting video than an article they didn’t have time to read.
Furthermore, reading involves a single sense while a video directly involves two senses: we can either watch a video with the audio turned off or listen to a video without watching it. We can’t acquire new knowledge by closing a blog or a book. People watch video at home, at work, on the train.
How can a video strategy be worth it in terms of brand awareness to justify the means and the time you need to plan and develop it to be as successful as you want it to be?
First of all, it comes through people having a spokesperson that represents the company’s values. People tend to like people instead of products. They trust people, especially people they have heard of, far more than the product itself.
Secondly, if you are structuring your content in a way that is constantly adding value to your target audience it can become a powerful PR weapon, basically free, due to the people who will recommend your videos or endorse you just by sharing the video on their profile.
Once a person has shared your content on their Facebook Timeline, for example, they are becoming a testimonial of your product and your credibility in front of all their friends. While this may be a small group of people, do not underestimate the power of a referral from a friend. The vast majority of people will be far more likely to use a product or service they’ve received a glowing review of from a friend, and will in turn be more likely to recommend it to others.
Visit our video production company Televisualise for examples of how we’ve made videos for clients including Dominos, Nationwide, and Ombar.
You’ve probably seen the recent media explosion about Fyre Festival. If you haven’t, a luxury music festival was planned on an uninhabited island in the Bahamas for the super wealthy, with tickets being sold for as much as twelve thousand dollars. Some reportedly sold for much more than that, so for that much money you would expect the trip of a lifetime.
When the excited festival-goers arrived on the island (many stepping off private jets), they found simple tents, cold sandwiches, and a thorough lack of water and utilities.
The festival had paid hundreds of social media stars, Instagram models, and big Celebrity names to promote it on their social media. Ironically, they used these same platforms to tell the world how terrible everything was when they arrived. And with some of these names having literally millions of people read their posts, pretty soon it blew up into a media uproar, with people polarized between concern for their celebrity idols, and others gleefully relishing spoilt rich kids getting their comeuppance.
Belongings were stolen, tents burned down, and the entire event was haunted by a pack of roaming feral dogs. No, really.
Eventually everyone was shipped off the island, before it had the chance to fully descend into a Battle Royale/Mad Max/Jurassic Park style fight for survival. Sadly.
Of course, people on social media ripped the festival to shreds:
To get some advice on how to run a PR campaign, or to join one of our Radio clinics, get in contact with us by email or calling 020 7158 0000.